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Mount Washington: A year in the making

My brother and I were both mesmerized by this mountain when we saw it last year. Towering over the Omni Mount Washington Resort and gloomy clouds covering the summit. I knew that under those clouds revealed one hell of a mountain. We thought about doing it last year but the weather wasn’t great. Our main mission this time was to go after that mountain and nothing else. Terrifying stats of deaths and “home to the worst weather in America” couldn’t hold us back. Winter storms can occur in August and hypothermia is common due to the exposure near the summit. Anyways, I’m certain you’d like to hear about the journey so lets get right into it!

Mount Washington towers over Omni Hotel

Two miles at ease

The first two miles of this hike were pretty straightforward and there wasn’t much difficulty. Early on, there’s a striking waterfall that anyone should stop at that’s called Crystal Cascades Falls. We stopped to take photos for awhile and decided to keep on moving. I’ll admit that it does get steep in certain areas for the first two miles. Not as steep as later on though! When we arrived at the Hermit Lake Shelters, we couldn’t help but become mesmerized by the views. After enjoying the scenery of jagged rocks above, we began the true ascent!

Crystal Cascades Falls
Snow Ranger Quarters near Hermit Lake Shelters

The Tuckerman Ravine

Many stories of misadventure have occurred at this point of the hike which is where skiers enjoy their winter as well. Ranging from falls, hypothermia, and avalanches. All of these become very understanding as one would climb this trail. Becoming closer to the headwall, cascading waterfalls fell gently into the ravine. A freeze warning was due during that night and we noticed that quickly. The hike became very sketchy and we took our time throughout these sections. Climbing up rock scrambles with ice is really no joke. Even more nerve racking was having a dropoff behind us and the ravine to our left as well. A young couple had passed my brother and I on the trail as we kept navigating the icy rocks. I could hear a loud crackling noise and when I looked up, both couples covered their heads as ice fell off of a rock wall. There has been accidents where this has happened and the outcome was either injury or death. After gaining elevation, we crossed a stream with more icy rocks and the dropoff remained to the left of us. Luckily, my brother noticed where a tricky spot was and we were able to avoid any mistakes. Successfully making it past the Tuckerman Ravine, we began to make the final push on one of America’s deadliest mountains!

My brother standing before the headwall
Waterfalls’ located on the headwall

6,288 feet in the air

Getting through the field of large rocks before reaching the summit was brutal on my knees. No matter what, I knew we were close and the feeling was incredible. I’ve had this mountain constantly on my mind since last year. Trekking up the steep incline of rocks for 0.6 miles, we finally reached the road near the summit. Afterwards, feeling extremely sore…we walked up the wooden stairs and noticed the Mount Washington sign. When we stood in line for it, people joked with us that we should be in front because we climbed the mountain. We spent awhile on Washington and felt very grateful because we had one of the sixty five days of the year where the weather is clear! People spoke to us inside the summit center and how inspired they were that we’d climbed the mountain instead of taking the road. There was a multitude of visitors who came up by car because it was so awe inspiring to be on that frosty summit. We had taken many photos and decided it was time to head down.

Cog Railway Train coming to Mount Washington summit
Frozen snow at the observatory tower

A leisurely descent

Descending Mount Washington was more relaxed than I expected it to be. I was anticipating icy rocks but it was all melted by the time we made it there. Be careful going down the ravine with loose rock because my brother knocked one down and anxiety shot through my body. I’m happy to say that it didn’t go too far! We took in the views of the headwall with the sun glistening over it before getting down the ravine trail. We passed many hikers with sneakers on and cotton t shirts which is the reason for some causes of hypothermia. The main point is this…don’t be that person! We grabbed water at the Hermit Lake Shelter and made our way to the parking lot. I knew with this mountain to expect anything and to be safe. Watching my brother sign out of the hiking registry felt fantastic. I went from fearing this mountain, to looking out past six states and feeling more alive than I’ve ever felt before.

Fall foliage from Mount Washington’s summit
A change of seasons

To everyone:

I’d like to mention my cousin, Jake in this blog because he’s the reason I’ve become so invested in this! My brother has solidified that as well and there’s so many adventures to come. This is just the beginning for us and I can’t wait to see what’s in store next. To anyone who’s become supportive of the blog or my photography, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you enjoy the photos I took on this hike and it was probably the best journey I’ve been on. Keep it real my adventurers and I’ll be seeing you in the next blog!

-Alex

Hiking challenges in the Northeast

A multitude of challenges have been created throughout the Northeast for all hikers. From historic fire towers, High Peaks, and shorter challenges…I believe there’s something for everyone. For now, I’ll speak of hikes located closer to the Adirondacks. Yes, there’s an incredible challenge in New Hampshire but lets focus on where I’ve come from.

Fire Tower Challenge

This could easily be one of my favorites, especially during the winter season or fall. Climbing up that rusty fire tower as it makes odd noises really makes me feel a bit more adventurous. Yet, nothing can beat feeling those high winds at the top of the tower (mostly in the winter). Although, five of these fire towers are in the Catskills, the rest are located in the ADK’s. There’s 23 towers and I think this might be one of the most interesting of challenges. If hiking up to historic fire towers is your thing, go for it!

Winter hike from Hurricane Mountain (Fire Tower Challenge)

The Great 46

I believe just about everyone is familiar with this challenge. The 46 High Peaks is probably the most popular in the Adirondacks and it usually takes quite some time to finish. I’ve hiked 17 out of 46 so far and I’m going to keep getting after it because I finally have a lot of time to do so! Some of these hikes can be extremely tough but that’s what makes you realize how strong you are. These mountains are found throughout the Adirondacks but in my opinion, the best are located in Keene Valley. If you’d like to feel all of the mental and physical pain from a hike, take exit 29 into Newcomb. I’ll probably explain why I said that in the next blog! Anyways, I should let all of you know about a smaller challenge as well.

View from South Dix Mountain (High Peaks)

Saranac Lake 6er

I really love this area of the Adirondacks and I think it’s a very fun challenge. Settled further in the ADK’s, six mountains are calling any adventurer’s name. I’ve completed three out of six and there’s only one that I found demanding. When you finish this challenge, there’s the option of heading into the town of Saranac. Located in the town is a bell that someone can ring after completing the challenge. To me, that sounds like a really neat Adirondack tradition. This so far has become one of my favorite challenges and I think any of you should give it a try!

Hike to Scarface Mountain (Saranac 6er Challenge)

Thank You!

Thanks so much for the patience as I haven’t posted a blog in awhile. I’ll definitely be writing more often and have many adventures on the way. Also, to anyone who’s supporting with my stickers…that means the world to me. I think everyone will be excited to hear about some of the treks my brother and I are going to take on! I’ll be back very soon and I hope you enjoyed this blog! In the mean time, adventure hard my friends!

-Alex

Why do I hike?

Many people look at me as if I have ten heads when I speak of how many miles I’ve hiked in a day. I sometimes ask myself, why do people do that? What I’m trying to do is encourage and inspire people to see the outdoors for themselves. Having a sense of adventure is one of the greatest things to acquire in life. After my first couple of hikes, my body adapted to these treks and I loved every moment of the journey. You might think to yourself, what’s this blog going to teach me? Between mental health, physical health, and perseverance…I believe there’s something for everyone. In the mean time, let’s get right into it!

Mentally stronger

Life will throw obstacles at you non stop but there’s some things that’ll help with this. Maybe it isn’t hiking, it could be something totally different from that. As for taking on these treks, it takes your mind away from those difficult challenges in life. I’ve learned that putting your phone away and spending time in the wilderness is vital to anyone’s life. You become reconnected with yourself and obviously those trails might be distracting as well (depending on how hard they are). My favorite part of any demanding hike is reaching the summit for mental health at any given point. I love this moment each time because it makes you realize how small most of your problems are. Outside of mental health, it plays a large role with physical shape.

These views really help to reconnect with yourself!

No brainer

I’m sure this is obvious to all of you but I figured I’d include it anyways. Hiking works out most of the body which is why it’s very good for you but there’s always the end reward. From pulling yourself up large rocks or going at a straight incline on your legs for awhile…it’s always quite a workout. My brother and I usually workout during the week to strengthen our IT band. The IT band (located in the leg) can become overused and if that happens, pain occurs in that area of the leg. As you could imagine, when this happens during a hike…it’s not fun. Spending so much time out in nature has changed my eating habits too. Being able to see more wildlife has provided me a lot of empathy towards animals. With this, I decided to become vegetarian. This has helped with weight loss even though that wasn’t my set intentions. I strongly believe being outdoors changes people in a good way. Lastly, if you were to ask me who’s the best teacher for perseverance…I’d simply reply, hiking.

Sometimes, you have to lift yourself up rock chimney’s

Chasing your dreams

The more challenging a trail becomes, the more perseverance I gain. There’s no such thing as turning around when climbing a mountain (unless potentially dangerous weather). Reaching the top of that mountain is an incredible feeling but sometimes we have to go down too. This is exactly what happened to me this past Spring. After building an account on Instagram from zero to a thousand followers really made me proud of myself and what I’m capable of. Shortly after, I began to receive less likes, views, and in total…traffic to my account. At first, I was devastated but it became a blessing in disguise. Now, I’m here building on multiple platforms and connecting with all of you! And who do I thank for that amount of hard work and determination? The mountains. I hope they’ve taught you many life lessons as well!

Climbing a mountain with no views which is part of Saranac 6er

To my adventurers

Thank you to my fellow adventurers who follow along with my blog! I hope the information I provide is useful and encourages you to get outdoors. Time to plan some new trails to hike and I’ll see you in the next post…adventure hard everyone!

-Alex

Adventures in the Adirondacks

How could I describe the Adirondacks? Awe-inspiring, adventurous, and a bit overcrowded…during the summer at least! The mountain vistas, challenging trails, and the classic flip flop “hikers”. Driving through Keene itself is a journey due to the expansive views that it offers. As for challenging trails…well, just take a look at Allen Mountain, Colden’s Trap Dike, and the Dix Range. I’ve only taken on one of these, which you’ll learn in a blog later on. If you didn’t know, the flip flop “hikers” are often seen on Cascade Mountain since it’s one of the easier High Peaks. The reason I mentioned this is because you need to always be prepared even if the hike isn’t that long. Trust me, I’ve been there with a mile hike in zero degrees in the Adirondacks. I didn’t use ski goggles and they’re actually very useful to prevent your eyes from freezing. Anyways, instead of me talking the whole time…let’s get into the places you can venture off to!

Mountains galore

The first is pretty obvious I’d assume as the 46 High Peaks is a great challenge in the Adirondacks. For anyone that wants to try out one of the High Peaks, I’d recommend Cascade Mountain or Giant Mountain. I think Cascade is much easier compared to Giant Mountain but it’s been about two years since I’ve climbed both. If you’re worried about becoming tired or anything, Baxter Mountain is an awesome start too. There’s also the lower 52 which are mountains that aren’t included in the 46er challenge. They’re less in elevation and should be very doable. Other than an infinite amount of mountains to be climbed, what else is there to do?

Views from Baxter Mountain

Go chase waterfalls

There is such an abundance of waterfalls in the Adirondacks, it’s ridiculous. The Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) has two of the best in my opinion. One being Beaver Meadow Falls which is a breathtaking waterfall and when sun hits it right, a small rainbow appears. The other waterfall, a beast of its own is known as Rainbow Falls. This cascading wall of water is near Indian Head and I’d easily recommend pairing the two together. On the way to the AMR is Roaring Brook Falls and I’ve yet to see it up close. You can see it from the road and it’s gorgeous. There’s actually a waterfall challenge for the Adirondacks and if that’s what you like, I suggest you get after it! Next up is something that I consider underrated…Adirondack ponds.

A vintage style shot of Roaring Brook Falls

Ponds & mountain views

Many ponds located in the Adirondacks have incredible mountains standing in the distance. Chapel Pond which is located across Giant Mountain’s trail head is a great place to take in views and rock climb. If you were wondering, yes you can swim here too! Another place that I haven’t been to yet is known as Connery Pond. In the distance, Whiteface looms over the body of water and I can’t believe how it’ll look in the fall. Lastly, when you’re entering Keene you’ll see Round Pond on the left hand side. This is a 1/2 mile hike and the trek to Connery Pond is the same. Both sound beautiful and I’ll definitely see them out in the future. I highly recommend checking out one of the Adirondacks Ponds’ when you get a chance!

A calm day at Chapel Pond

Until next time

To the people that read these blogs, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope that I’m providing useful information and follow through with those treks everyone! I will see you in the next post, keep it real friends and remember…adventure hard!

-Alex

My first National Park!

It felt weird. For a very long time, I wanted to visit a National Park. When I was young, I visited the Grand Canyon but there wasn’t much I could reminisce on. It was hard to recall anything because I was around nine years old at the time. After hiking Esther Mountain last winter, I got the news. We decided that during the summer, a trip to Acadia National Park was actually happening! Immediately, I looked up places we’d hike and obviously catch the sunset as well. After leaving the house this July for our trip, I’ve never felt such a sense for adventure.

Hello, Acadia NP!

Seeing the Acadian Mountains heading out into the distance was gorgeous, especially during sunsets. We stayed near a cove and kayaked sometimes as well. Looking out towards those mountains in the morning and before dusk was everything. The sky reflecting off of the water created such a serene moment and I hope we stay there again at some point! Anyways, let’s get into my favorite moments in Maine this year and what I plan to do next time.

Reflection off of the cove

Shooting the Milky Way

One of the most challenging concepts to photography is taking photos at night time. I practiced with a kit lens for over a month, covering many photos of the stars near me. The issue with where I live is light pollution which is a huge factor towards this. Luckily, in Maine the light pollution is very low but the weather didn’t cooperate throughout the night. The last two chances I had, my tripod (cheapest piece of metal ever) decided to break mid shot. I produced one photo where you can slightly see the beautiful night sky but otherwise, I didn’t have much to improvise with. This is definitely something I will keep learning about and hopefully be successful with it next time around! Now, let’s get into some stuff I did in Acadia National Park.

Not great quality but I thought I’d share anyways!

Unlimited adventures

The first day in Acadia National Park was absolutely exhilarating and I can’t wait to experience more days like this. Why? Because being outdoors and getting the adrenaline rushing…nothing is better than that! Obviously being safe plays a large role but pushing through on any hard hike feels amazing when you reach the top. My brother and I took Park Loop Road throughout the day but we started at Sands Beach. Across the road is Beehive Trail which of course we had to do and it was one of my favorites. Afterwards, we saw Thunder Hole but nothing was occurring so we went to Jordan Pond. To finish off the day, we took the journey up Cadillac Mountain (by foot) and yes it was a fantastic hike. Other places I ventured off to were Bubble Rock, Bass Harbor Lighthouse, and Great Head Trail. I’ll cover writings on these adventures but I thought I’d give a brief overview first!

Sunset at Bass Harbor Lighthouse

Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor had to be one of the greatest towns I’ve been to and I’ve seen many! There’s something about being near the ocean and turning around to gaze at the mountains. I believe for dining, there’s something for everyone in Bar Harbor. In my opinion, Geddy’s was my favorite place to eat at for lunch or dinner. For every order of nachos, they bring it out inside a hubcap! Pretty cool, right? Anyways, I enjoyed shooting the sunset in this small town and going on a sightseeing cruise. For anyone looking for a summer vacation next year, I think I found the one for you. I highly recommend checking out this magnificent part of Maine!

Golden Hour in Bar Harbor
Hub Cap Nachos!

Thanks!

Thank you as always for anyone who read this blog. Sharing my adventures and where I travel is very important to me, which I hope provides you with information too! I’ll definitely cover a blog on separate adventures from Maine and possibly give tips for hiking there as well. Therefore, I’ll see you in the next blog…plan those adventures!

-Alex

The importance of hiking in the Fall

Since Fall is right around the corner, I figured I’d share some experiences and why you should always be ready for anything. Any hiker should have an understanding that mountains have their own weather (I’ve learned this too). For the most part, you should probably have winter gear on you when October begins. Both of my experiences were during October and as it goes for September, it’s usually not too bad. During September, I’d recommend gloves, a hat, and a windbreaker. On the other hand, October is a month to really be prepared for the mountains. Entertain the idea of taking a winter jacket with you, as it may be the difference from suffering or surviving cold temperatures. Basically, you should have most winter gear on you when hiking throughout October. It’s self explanatory that it becomes much colder from here on out. For anyone who doesn’t know, this goes for hiking in the Northeast so I thought I’d make that clear. I will describe my two frigid moments in the Fall and create a better understanding of the weather at higher altitudes.

Hiking Sawteeth (October 28th)

My brother, Anthony and our friend, Adam went to hike one of the Adirondack High Peaks known as Sawteeth Mountain. The weather was overcast and we brought winter gear with us, just in case. After a lookout, we had realized there was a bit of snow coming down. Nothing was sticking and it wasn’t a lot therefore, we weren’t too worried. Pushing closer to the summit, slippery ice covered boulders which put me in a challenging circumstance. I have no clue how I managed to get up this specific area but I’d say to use crampons! I didn’t have a pair of them when we went but they’re extremely useful. Once when had reached the summit, I was very grateful to have my winter gear on me! It looked as if a blizzard was striking the High Peaks yet it was so beautiful at the same time. Heading down was another hardship due to the amount of ice which is why I stress bringing a pair of crampons. Anyways, let’s get into the next story of triumph in the mountains (kind of).

Yes, this was in October!
Although cold, this weather creates some beautiful scenes

Franconia Ridge (October 12th)

My brother and I were truly looking forward to this trip so we could hike in New Hampshire. We did so, but arriving on the first day was only overcast weather. What do you think we did? Yep…of course we went hiking anyways! This turned out to be quite a memorable adventure. If you didn’t know, the ridge on this trail is exposed for about a mile. Before we reached the ridge, we heard strong winds and people began to turn back. The trail we came up was steep so we figured that we’d check out how windy it truly was. After deciding we’d go for it, I fell down once and by the last mountain on the ridge…there was a lot of frost on my hat. It was incredibly cold as we went across the ridge and some people were wearing shorts! One simple tip everyone: don’t be like them! At the end of the day, I was happy to have winter gear with me and take on one crazy trek.

Definitely overcast weather for the day
Side note: Bandanas are very useful as well!

Thanks!

To anyone out there who took the time to read this, I appreciate it so much. I hope you’ve learned that hiking in the Fall can be quite cold and to always be prepared. I’ll catch up with all of you in my next blog and please feel free to comment, like, or give a follow! Adventure hard, ladies and gentlemen.

-Alex

About Myself and T & H

My name is Alex and I’ve become inspired by the outdoors since I was introduced to the Adirondack High Peaks. Although I live in Saratoga Springs, my brother and I frequently make day trips to go hiking or practice photography. There’s something different about spending time outdoors rather than sitting inside all day. If I have to get up at 2 AM to hike 5 mountains, I’ll do so (true story). When something has such an influence on you, nothing will get in its way. After hiking about 40 miles in two weekends and battling winds on a ridge in Franconia, NH I had realized something. I need to share my adventurous stories with others and provide tips to help them out in the back country! Now I’m certain many of you are thinking, what exactly is T & H?

T & H (short for Travelers & Hikers) was something I had thought of when I wanted to create a unique name for my blog. Something that’d resonate with people and felt very authentic. I knew that T & H would be an outlet to anyone with wanderlust and hopefully inspire many. At the end of the day, I want to create strong relationships with people who have a passion for the outdoors. Not only that, but I’d also like everyone to know that hiking is a teacher for our mentality and physical health. You’ll understand this throughout the stories I’ll tell and the tips given to you! Now what are we waiting for? Let’s get into these adventurous stories, what they’ve taught me, and what they’ll teach you.